To some legal analysts, Republicans' concerns are well founded. Religious-affiliated nonprofits such as Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army lack certain protections, as do individuals who are morally opposed to gay marriage, says Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.
Moreover, municipalities could penalize religious groups that refuse to serve married gay couples.
“Just because the state has this idea that they’ll write these exemptions in doesn’t mean that local governments won’t come in and say, 'We’ll punish you,' ” Professor Wilson adds.
In particular, she says municipalities could refuse to enter into contracts with or give tax breaks to groups that violate their antidiscrimination policies.